Manchester Orchestra unleash new album ‘Cope’, as well as some old classics, on The Fleece.
Starting the tour just days after the release of the bands tremendous fourth album Cope, Manchester Orchestra’s set was not drawn too heavily from new material, but instead encompassed their whole discography. Testament to this was the inclusion of ‘I Can Barely Breathe’ and the beautifully tender ‘Colly Strings’ from the 2007 album release I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child. These older songs were greeted with the same enthusiasm as was the new material, a reflection of how devoted their fanbase is.
Opening with ‘Shake it Out’, the set rollicked on at a tremendous pace, with lead singer Andy Hull only stopping to thank those in attendance, and for lead guitarist Robert McDowell to let the crowd know that despite their jetlag, they were extremely happy to be playing in the U.K. Further proof of the bands humility was evident when Hull declared; ‘We decided to play a load of small clubs on this tour, because we didn’t know if anyone still gave a shit about our band’. The reaction this quip got, along with the general reaction of the crowd to the entire set, proved that there is no doubt that people still care about Manchester Orchestra.
First of the new songs to be aired was ‘Cope’, the perfect example of Manchester Orchestra’s hauntingly ambiguous lyrics (‘There is no one there that’s waiting after me/And I hope if there is one thing I let go, it is the way that we cope’) and huge riffs. ‘The Ocean’ was also aired, and has one of the biggest choruses Hull has written to date. The main set began to draw to a close with heart-breaking tune ‘The River’, always the rawest song in Hull’s repertoire. Next came the chilling cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘The Party’s Over’, ending with the apt refrain of ‘Turn out the lights/The party is over/They say that all, good things must end’.
After informing the crowd that the band had nowhere to go off stage to wait for an encore, Hull jokingly had the lights dimmed, only to be turned up again seconds later. This was mockingly applauded by the crowd, before Hull thanked those in attendance one last time, letting everyone know that they had enjoyed themselves. Hull noted amusingly; ‘I’m having fun. Sometimes playing this depressing music can really take it out of you…’. The two singles thus far released from Cope – ‘Top Notch’ and ‘Every Stone’- were saved for the encore, with the latter’s frenetic riffs and emotional refrain translating perfectly live. ‘Top Notch’ is not as good live as it is on record, but the central riff still sounds utterly imperious. After ending with ‘Simple Math’, Manchester Orchestra left the stage to rapturous applause, now certain that people did indeed still care about their band.